links logo

History, A Dateline of Events

Compiled by Alan Weiser with the help of Claire Shefftz,Aliya Middleton, Alan Weiser, Saul Zeichner, and Ron Lahav


The objective of identifying those historic events which affected Jewish life in Kolomea is to provide a possible description of what factors may have influenced the actions of our Kolomea relations. By providing these events on a dateline a researcher can superimpose a person’s vital records dates, home ownership dates, business establishment or closing dates, military service dates, or emigration dates to see which historic events may have influenced actions by these people.

There is a certain difficulty in selecting which historic events may have influenced the way Jews in Kolomea lived, studied, worked, followed their religion, married, raised children, and died or emigrated from Kolomea. Certainly there are events which may have occurred anywhere in the world that affected Jews and non-Jews alike in Kolomea as well as elsewhere. The event of printing presses, wireless radio, the automobile, and the like certainly affected the way of life of many. We are not too concerned with such events in this project. We would like to focus on those events which more or less had direct influence on the way of life of Jews in Kolomea specifically and only incidentally to other people elsewhere. We are not rejecting events that impacted on Jews outside of Kolomea. The laws which required Jews to have surnames is an event we want to include. In particular if such a surname-law applied differently to Jews in Kolomea or Galicia as opposed to say Jews in Austria proper or elsewhere in Europe, we want to distinguish that specific event (disparity in law). World Wars, partitioning of what was Galicia, and events of that nature are surely wanted, but we must focus on the particulars that impacted most on Jews of Kolomea.

Three official spellings of the town in question are generally recognized. KOLOMEA was the Austrian-German spelling. KOLOMYJA was the Polish spelling. KOLOMYYA is said to be the Ukrainian spelling. KOLOMEA spelling is used throughout this report unless it is significant to use one of the other spellings to clarify matters.

Whenever possible a complete date (month, day, year) is desired for an event; otherwise, a partial date (month, year or year alone) is given. If an event like a law was enacted, then later repealed or amended, both the enactment date and the repeal/amendment date would be given in the appropriate place on the dateline.


YEAR                EVENT

1240 Kolomyia founded.

1241 German colonization in Galicia started primarily by priests, soldiers, artisans and traders.

16th Century A flourishing Jewish community existed in Kolomyja.

1540 Jews allowed to live in Kolomea with some restrictions

1616 Jews are permitted to have land to build a synagogue and cemetery

1648-1649  Chmielnick forces kill 300 Jews, nearly entire community

1700  Jews move back to Kolomea, are in retail trade and wholesale lumber businesses

1765  Jewish population in Kolomyja is 1,072.

1772  In first partition of Poland Eastern Galicia plus land to the West between the San and the Vistula were annexed by Austria, including Kolomea.  Austrians restrict Jewish trade in lumber and salt.  The Hasidic movement is prominent in Kolomea. Groups include followers of the Boyan, Vizhnuitz, Otynia, Zhadachov, Chortakov, and Kosov rabbis.  Special taxes are imposed on Jews for marriage permits, kosher meat, synagogues, and similar items.  Marriage is restricted to the oldest son and quotas are placed on number of Jewish families that can reside in an area are applied to all Galicia.

1773 Jewish marriage requires permission of government and payment of fee.  Major decline in civil marriages.

1776  Judenordnung is issued.  It re-establishes a kehillah system of self-governance of  the Jewish community.

1781 Jewish Leibmaut or ‘body tax’ is abolished.  Decrees issued  to establish Jewish rights to education, military service and  professions.  Marriage restriction are unchanged.

February 4, 1782  Jewish physicians of Galicia granted permission to treat Christian patients

1783 Austrian legislature confirms mandated civil marriage and creates Catholic registration of Jewish births, marriages, and deaths.  Tax on kosher meat is increased.

1788 Government establishes Jewish elementary school.

January 1, 1788 Hereditary surnames required.

February 17, 1788 Conscription of Jews to the Austro-Hungarian army.

1789 Jewish marriage requirements relaxed.  Judenpatent establishes 141 Jewish communities in Galicia. and reduces the scope of Jewish autonomy.  Kosher meat tax is increased again.

1791 - 1800  Conscription of Jews abolished and replaced by a 30 zloty levy  for each young man of military age.

1795 Additional land East and West of  the Vistula were annexed by Austria

1797 Secular education for Jews is mandated again

1800 Census in Galicia indicates there are 250,000 Jews

1806 Francis Ferdinand concedes defeat in mandated education for Jews. Chassidism entrenched in Galicia.

1812 Jewish population in Kolomea is 2,033.

1814 Prohibition against publishing or importing Hebrew and Yiddish books.

1816 Taxes on candles and kosher meat increased.

1820 A charitable society, Gemilut Chasidim, was established to help the sick and deal with burials.

November 6, 1834 Jews of Austria forbidden to have first names of Christian saints

1848-1849  Rosenheck is elected to the Galician parliament (Sejm) in Lvov, but it fails to meet.  There is a Cholera epidemic.  Austria abolishes serfdom in Galicia.

1852 33 women and 3 children died in the synagogue on Yom Kippur.  A false fire alarm during prayers caused a panic and victims died in the scramble to get out of  the crowded synagogue.

1854 A Jewish hospital was established.

1860 Jews are allowed to own real estate and buy houses.

1861 Eliezer Ducas is elected to Galician Sejm and serves until his death in 1865.  Four Jews are elected to the Galician Diet.

January 1863 Jewish birth records include maiden names, witnesses, and midwives.

1865 Fire destroys 500 houses. 1,000 families, mostly Jewish, are left homeless and are given community aid to rebuild.

1867 Austria allows region a large degree of administrative autonomy.  Region becomes Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1867-1891 Rabbi Hillel Lichenstein, a renowned traditional scholar, is Chief Rabbi of Kolomea

1869 Lvov-Jassy-Czernowicz railway line come through Kolomeaand improves trade with other areas in Austria and beyond. Jewish population is 8,232 which is nearly 50% of Kolomea. Emancipation of Jews in Galicia declared. Over 500,000 Jews live in Galicia.  Orthodox Jews begin political involvement.

1873 Dr. Oscar Henigsman is the first Jewish representative from the Kolomea district to be elected to Austrian Parliament in Wien.

1877 Kehillot must appoint official rabbis to collect and maintain registration of births, marriages, and death records.  Rabbis also become civil agents for officiating at marriages.  Publication of law sets Jewish district composition

1878 Jews win the majority of seats in town council elections and Dr. Maximilian Trachtenberg, a lawyer, is elected mayor of Kolomea and serves until 1885.

1880 Jewish population in Kolomea rises to 12,002.

1883 Dr. Samuel Bloch, Chief Rabbi of Florisdorf is elected to Austrian Parliament.  Tallit weaving factory established by Shimon Heller.

1886 Jewish elementary school founded by Israelitische Alliance zu Wien.

1891 Dr. Bloch’s candidacy for re-election is opposed by Hasidic groups supporting Polish candidate and pre-election riots breakout. Bloch wins.

1892 Prayer shawl workers go on strike for better pay and working conditions.

1896 Poles support candidacy of Mayor Trachtenberg for Galician Sejm seat and he defeats Dr. Bloch and serves in Parliament until 1900.

1900 Kolomea’s Jewish population is 16,568, again nearly 50% of the town’s population.  The Jewish community has a Great Synagogue, about 30 other synagogues and Hasidic prayer houses, two houses of study, and numerous small prayer groups

1910 Jews are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages.

1911 Jews are prohibited from salt and wine occupations.

1914  World War I begins and many Jews flee the town as the Russians advance and occupy Kolomea in September.  Jews are abused for supposedly supporting the Austrians and many Jewish homes are ransacked and destroyed.

1915  Austrians retake Kolomea.

1918  War ends and Kolomyya is under Western Ukrainian People’s  Republic rule.  Many Jewish businesses were destroyed during the war.

1919  Anti-Semitic attacks increase.  Western Ukraine annexed by Poland

1920  Western Ukraine including Kolomyja becomes part of Poland. Polish government policies towards Jews restrict Jewish economic recovery.  About half of the Jewish community needs help from its welfare institutions.  First group of Zionist youths leaves Kolomyja for Palestine.

1920s Orphanage and old age home funded.

1920s-1930s  Lace factory and cooperative formed.  Horowitz drape and bedding factory employs 400.  Other employment is found in bakeries, tanneries, weaving, printing, carpentry, metal working, poultry, egg, and airy product distribution, breweries, and cattle dealing. Political and Zionist adult and youth groups include the Bund, Hashomer, Hatsair, Hitahadut, He-Halutz, Hakhshara, Herzlia, Gordonia, Betar, Mizrachi, Agudat Israel, and Tarbut.
A cultural association, Halevy, was begun in 1924 and had choirs,  a theater group, and a 75 member orchestra.  Cultural figures included:  Yiddish poet Itzik Manger, whose mother was from Kolomyja, visited the city and mentioned it in his poems.
Yiddish poet Naftali Gross was born in Kolomyja and wrote his first poems there.  He continued his career in Canada and New York. Chaim Gross, renowned artist and sculptor was from Kolomea.  Other notable cultural figures were musician
Emanual Feuerman, historian Chaim Ringleblum, the Hebrew librarian Jacob Bitter, the poet and translator Dr. Binew Frish, and the poet A. D. Verbener. Jewish newspapers included:  Undzer Leben, Der Zelbastschutz, Nai Kolomeyer,  Tzeitung,  Folks Blat,  and the Zionist Undser Shtimme.

1930 Joseph Lau, the last Kolomyja Chief Rabbi, is elected with the help of a coalition of Agudat Israel and Mizachi religious parties.

1930s Bankruptcies increase.  Help given by new cooperative banks and charity funds, central soup kitchen with branches, Opika to help children, clinics at the Jewish hospital

1938 Jewish refugees expelled from Nazi Germany to their places of origin as well as Czech and Austrian Jews arrive in Kolomyja     and are given aid.

September 17, 1939 Soviets occupy Kolomyja and Jewish organizations cease operating. Western Ukraine becomes part of USSR

1940 New Soviet identity cards limit where former businessmen and refugees can live
    and travel.  Most businesses are nationalized or have join cooperatives.  Zionist
    youth groups secretly try to cross the border to Rumania to get to Israel, but few
    succeed.  Many are caught and deported to Siberia.

June 30, 1941 The Soviet army retreats from Kolomyja as the Germans advance.  Some army
    draftees and doctors and nurses go with them.

July 4, 1941 Hungarian troops allied with Germany to occupy Kolomyja.

July 24, 1941 German SS troops arrive and are stopped from killing 2,000 Jews by the Hungarian commander.

August 1, 1941 East Galicia comes under the direct rule of Germans. A Judenrat, a Jewish governing body, is established to deal with     the Germans.  Marcus (Mordechai) Horowitz is the chairman.

November 15, 1941 500 Jews from Kolomyja executed by Nazis

August - December 1941 Property is confiscated, forced labor is begun, fines are levied  and arrests followed by slaughter in Szeparowice forest begins.The Great Synagogues and others are destroyed.

January 24, 1942 Nazi attacks against Jewish intelligentsia

March 24, 1942 A ghetto with three sections is established and all Jews  must move into the fenced in area.

April 2, 1942 First mass roundups and deportations to Belzec death camp.About 1,000 are sent out.

September 7, 1942 8,700 Jews sent to Belzec

October 3, 1942 4,500-5,000 Jews sent to Belzec

September - November 1942 Thousands more Jews sent to belzec.  Thousands killed in Kolomyja or Szeparowice forest.  400 orphans shot in the orphanage.

October 1942 Marcus Horowitz, chairman of Judenrat, commits suicide.

February 2, 1943 Last 1,500 Jews shot in Szepariwice forest.  Ghetto is destroyed.

August 1944 Soviets occupy Kolomyya and all of Ukraine becomes part of USSR.  Hidden survivors and those that escaped to Russia return, but most move on after finding no family or friends left.

1957 Estimated about 200 Jewish families in Kolomyya

1969 Estimated about 70 Jewish families in Kolomyya

1991 USSR dissolves and Ukraine becomes independent country.


1. Encyclopedia Judaica, Kolomyya.

2. Extermination of the Jews of Galicia, by Robin O’Neil, chapter 6, Extermination of the Jews of Kolomyja and District,

3. Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsyclopediya shel ha-yesshuvim le-min hivisidam ve-ad le-aher milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya, Pinkas Hakehillot, Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Jerusalem, Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, Poland, Vol. 2 Eastern Galicia, ed. Danuta Dobrowska, Abraham Wein, Aharon Weiss, 1980.

4. Pinkas Kolomey, (Kolomeyer Memorial Book), ed. Shlomo Bickel, New York, 1957.

5. Sefer Zikaron le-kehillat Kolomey ve-ha-sevivah, (Kolomeyer memorial Book), ed. D. Noy and M. Shutzman, former residents of Kolomyja and Surroundings in Israel, 1972.

6. To Tell At Last, Survival Under False Identity, 1941-1945, Blanca Rosenberg, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

7. Two Brothers, by Siegfried Haber and Max Haber, Division of Holocaust Studies, The Institute of Contemporary Judaism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1981.

8. Ivano-Frankivsk,



11. Grodzoski, Stanislaw, The Jewish Question in Galicia: The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, 1772-1790. Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 12. Focusing on Galicia: Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians 1772-1918. The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, London: 1999, pages 61-72.

12. Wynne, Susan, “Highlights of Galician History,” The Galitizianer, Vol. 9, No. 2, February 2002, pp20-21.